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Biden Touts Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal in Wisconsin; House to Vote On January 6 Select Committee; Maricopa County Will Not Reuse Equipment Turned Over; Authorities Brace for Fallout of Partisan- Driven Effort; Around 80 Percent of Australians Affected by COVID Restrictions; France Lifts Restrictions for Most Indoor Businesses; North Korean Officials Fired After "Grave" COVID Incident; Hawks Even Series, Serena Slips, England Stuns Germany. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 30, 2021 - 04:30   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back everyone. Well in the coming hours, President Joe Biden is set to meet with governors from eight Western states as the region copes with a historic heatwave, wildfires and drought. These climate issues in some cases are now wreaking havoc on U.S. infrastructure. A key issue on the president's mind Tuesday. He traveled to Wisconsin where he made his case for the bipartisan infrastructure proposal he agreed to last week. The president says the plan would benefit working and middle class families across the country.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A bipartisan group of Senators got together and they forged an agreement to move forward on the key priorities of my American jobs plan. One of them is setting in front of me. As a result, this is a generational investment, a generational investment to modernize our infrastructure creating millions of good paying jobs.


CHURCH: Members of the U.S. Capitol Police and the Washington, D.C. Metro Police are expected to be in the House gallery today when lawmakers vote on a select committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection. CNN's Ryan Nobles has more now from Capitol Hill.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On Wednesday, here on Capitol Hill, the House is expected to pass a resolution that would form a select committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection. Now, this was something that was necessitated in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's mind after the Senate blocked her attempts to form an independent bipartisan commission that would operate outside the Congress made up of people not made up of Congress.

This House select committee instead will be appointed by Pelosi and it will be made up of members of the House of Representatives. Pelosi will pick eight of those members and in consultation with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, another five will be chosen. Now Pelosi made it clear that she can veto McCarthy's choices if she does not believe that they will be responsible in conducting their business on this committee. And Pelosi has also said that she's considering among her eight picks, selecting a Republican to sit on this committee.

Now Republicans are expected to vote against this measure by a pretty wide margin. In fact, the House GOP whip Steve Scalise sending out what they call a leadership recommendation to their membership, instructing them that they believe a no vote is appropriate in this regard. And there are even a fair number of House Republicans who voted in favor of that independent commission who have now said that they do not support this select committee because they believe that it will be overly partisan. Among them the ranking member on Homeland Security, Congressman John Katko of New York who has said that he wanted a bipartisan commission, and he described this select committee as being the opposite of that.

Now regardless of the fact that most Republicans are not going to support this measure, it should pass without a problem and that will give Pelosi the opportunity to start putting the select committee together. It will have subpoena power and it could do among many other things, call before it the minority leader Kevin McCarthy to testify about what he knew as to what happened on January 6. Including that phone call that he had with the former President Donald Trump as his supporters were breaking into the Capitol on that day.

Ryan Nobles, CNN, on Capitol Hill.


CHURCH: A chaotic twist in the New York City mayoral race. On Tuesday, the city board of elections release a new tally of votes in the Democratic primary, then backtracked just hours later. Officials say that they had mistakenly included more than 100,000 test ballots in their count. This is also the city's first time using a ranked choice voting system. And the mistake is creating some uncertainty about the ability of officials to manage the final count.

Well, Maricopa County, Arizona will not reuse any of the voting equipment turned over for a so-called audit of the 2020 presidential election.


County officials say that they have grave concerns a private contractor may have compromised the security of those machines. The company called Cyber Ninjas has no prior experience auditing elections. Authorities are concerned about security threats surrounding the election. CNN's Kyung Lah reports with the partisan ordered results expected in the coming days. Authorities are concerned about security threats surrounding the election.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, in the past, America had a very good solution for dealing with such traders. Execution.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You are listening to a thread against election defenders, stated on far right outlet one American news network. Maricopa County supervisor and Republican Bill Gates tweeted his response to this video calling it hateful, dangerous and aberrant. This kind of rhetoric is why, at the Maricopa County elections department in downtown Phoenix, democracy here braces for what may be coming.

The month long so-called Arizona audit is in its final hours on this coliseum floor. A partisan driven exercise reviewing Maricopa County's 2020 ballots despite two previous audits that showed no evidence of widespread voter fraud. The Republican controlled State Senate promises it will release what it calls a report in the coming weeks as rhetoric grows more violent. It is why the elections building is being fenced by two layers.

We've seen attempted breaches before, last November as we watched election workers counting the vote.

LAH: There has been a security situation.

LAH (voice-over): The Maricopa County Elections Department was suddenly surrounded.

LAH: The security situation.

CROWD CHANTING: Stop the steal, stop the steal.

LAH: This is.

LAH (voice-over): A large armed mob was shouting to break into the election center.

LAH: You can see a line of law enforcement here, the sheriff's department and a very large crowd.

LAH (voice-over): A few sheriff's deputies were all that protected election workers as more scramble to protect the vote. Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone.

LAH: When you see that fence go up, what do you think?

PAUL PENZONE, SHERIFF, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: Well, symbolically, I think it's a slap in the face to everything that we have been as a nation. That's what we see in nations where there is civil unrest, and there is a true democracy and there's a true respect for each other. But now it's a necessity. In essence that's a sad statement.

LAH (voice-over): Nearly six months after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Penzone says the release of the report gives extremists another rallying event. And like the lead up to January 6, the Arizona audit has been fueled by weeks of disinformation and extreme anger.

PENZONE: They want to know when the right time is working kind of that combustible moment, they want to know what location is most impactful? LAH: Are you getting any indication of timeline or the timing of when all of this may be happening?

PENZONE: No and we should. Law enforcement should be in the loop when it comes to timeline, so that we can best prepare for how we address potential issues of escalation of violence. And by failing to do so, you are being negligent and almost reckless on behalf of a community.

LAH (voice-over): Penzone says a Republican controlled Arizona Senate has shared zero information on what to expect in the audit report. He's left largely guessing planning for the unexpected with federal agencies.

MATT MASTERSON, FELLOW, STANFORD INTERNET OBSERVATORY: Not an audit is what's happening there. It's performance art. It is largely a clown show.

LAH (voice-over): Even if this bamboo hunting, UV light using, Lazy Susan spinning exercise appears ludicrous, says former Department of Homeland Security elections expert Matt Masterson, the conspiracy believers take this as truth.

MASTERSON: January 6 is what's the ultimate symbol of the rise of extremism, domestic extremism here in the United States. Right. So it is -- if that can happen at the U.S. Capitol on the day that election results are scheduled to be certified, we all need to be aware of that can happen anywhere and take the necessary precautions for sure.

LAH: While Arizona awaits the release of this so-called report the rhetoric is not calming down. After some significant outrage that OAN personality tried to explain the threat, but he did not apologize.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


CHURCH: Still to come, France loosening its COVID restrictions, as Australia tightens his lockdowns. How the delta variant is impacting the global fight against the virus.



CHURCH: We are getting a clearer picture of the impact of India's devastating second wave of COVID-19. The Indian Medical Association says almost 800 doctors have died from the virus since April.

With the emergence of new more transmissible variants, such as the Delta strain, the fight against the virus is far from over. In Tokyo, cases have been rising for the past 10 days with the Olympics fast approaching. The city now says the Tokyo leg of the Olympic torch relay will be moved off public streets for the first eight days and haven't decided on the rest of the relay. Only 10 percent of the Japanese population is fully vaccinated. In Australia, an outbreak of cases around Sydney has risen to at least

160 infections. New South Wales reported 22 new cases on Wednesday, while is capital remains under a two week lockdown.

While some countries are tightening COVID measures, France is loosening theirs. Starting today, capacity restrictions will be lifted for most indoor businesses including restaurants and cinemas. And CNN's Cyril Vanier is standing by in London. But first let's go to Angus Watson who joins us live from Sydney, Australia. Good to see you Angus. So as infections across Australia increase, so too do the lockdowns of course. What is the latest on the situation there?

ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER: The latest, Rosemary, is that almost half the population of Australia, some 10 million people or just over is under lockdown now of some form of COVID-19 restrictions here in Sydney. Told not to leave their homes. People told not to leave their homes for a two week period as the city and now the country fights the delta variant moving through communities at a rate too quick to contact tracers to come up with.

And the backdrop to that is Australia's low vaccination rate. Just over 7 percent of us Australians have been vaccinated with two doses of any COVID-19 vaccine. That doesn't leave them very well protected as this variant moves through their country -- Rosemary.


CHURCH: And what about the situation with vaccines, how is that progressing?

WATSON: Rosemary, there's been some mixed messaging as the vaccine rollout has stumbled along here in Australia. There is confusion as to which age groups should get which vaccine. Australians are relying on imports of the Pfizer vaccine and its own locally produced AstraZeneca doses. And there is confusion between the states and federal government as to who needs to get what. And the backdrop for that is that those Pfizer doses are diminishing. The state of Queensland says it only has enough left for the next eight days of dosages -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right, and Cyril, while many parts of the world grapple with the new threat posed by the delta variant, France prepares to lift COVID restrictions. What is the latest on that?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, there's a lot of good news on the COVID front for France at the moment. Infections are down, hospitalizations and deaths are down and France is lifting the last phase of restrictions. Meaning that restaurant and cinemas can operate at full capacity indoors. So France is gearing up for what should be a pretty good summer as people will be going on holiday. And vaccination effort has been moving at pace with more than 600,000 people vaccinated a day which is a very high rate relative to population size.

Short term, it's all good news, Rosemary. But median term, not so much. You see the highly contagious delta variant which has already become the dominant variant in some countries including here in the U.K. and caused a surge in infections is now taking over in France. A few days ago it accounted for 10 percent of infections, now it's 20 percent. And French health authorities agree that it is going to cause a new wave of infections probably late summer, early fall.

And whether or not France will be able to deal with that new wave will depend on the level of vaccination. It should not be as severe as previous waves because of course many people are now vaccinated. Still that rate is 30 percent of the population, the adult population in France. Come the end of summer/early fall, what is that percentage going to be? Is it going to be 60, 70, 80 percent? On that number, depends on France's ability to face a fourth wave of COVID induced by the delta variant -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: We just can't let our guard down. Cyril Vanier bringing us the very latest on the situation across France, appreciate it.

Well Kim Jong-un has fired several high ranking officials in North Korea after a, quote, grave incident related to COVID-19. According to state media, Kim accused the officials of neglecting their pandemic duties and creating a crisis for the country. It's a surprising announcement from North Korea which so far has claimed zero COVID cases during the pandemic.

So let's turn to CNN's Will Ripley. He joins us from Taiwan. Good to see you, Will. And of course you have spent many years reporting in North Korea. So what do you make of this new development, officials being fired over unspecified grave COVID-19 incident?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Rosemary. It's really difficult to ascertain precisely what is happening inside North Korea. In fact, that is exactly what South Korea's unification ministry said when they were asked for comment about this. They said we don't know what the great situation is. We don't know what the COVID crisis is. We don't who these party leaders are. They were called ignorant, incompetent and irresponsible. And so, all they can do -- just like we can do -- is watch for more clues. Whether they will come from North Korean state media or intelligence from inside the country. But that intelligence is very difficult perhaps more difficult than ever to glean at the moment because North Korea's borders have been shut down since really the beginning of the COVID pandemic.

They were one of the first countries to -- already hermetically sealed -- but increase the level of isolation. And over the months as food started running low, medical supplies started running low, more foreign diplomats and NGO workers are now gone. They're out of North Korea.

And so, is highly secretive country really can choose what information it wants to share with the world. It was just last week that there was the very rather report talking about Kim Jong-un's noticeable weight loss. Interviewing North Koreans who said they were heartbroken about how -- in their words -- gaunt he looked.

And now you have North Korea claiming that Kim Jong-un has very fiercely criticized these party officials saying that they failed in areas of organization, technical and scientific measures when it came to quarantine protocol. And you have North Korea saying that as a result there will was a grave incident unspecified because of this so- called quarantine negligence that has led to a COVID related crisis inside the country.

Does that mean that there is an outbreak? We don't know. North Korea up until now has not acknowledged one official case of the virus. They claim -- disputed by most outside observers, especially Japan and United States.


South Korea continues to watch the situation. The Kyoto news agency did report recently that North Korea was trying to get 1.7 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine delivered be late May as part of the COVAX vaccination program. But Kyoto reported that those shipments were held up because North Korea was unwilling to follow COVAX's rules and regulations. CNN by the way, not independently able to verify that reporting. But if North Korea is now signaling publicly, Rosemary, that there's a Covid crisis, it may be a sign that they want foreign vaccine into the country.

It could also be a sign that these party officials who were fired, could be the fall guy's for a broader systematic failure as North Korea faces multiple crises all at once -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right, we'll continue to follow this story. Will Ripley joining us there with the latest, appreciate it.

Coming up next, as the England fans say football is coming home. A stunning victory decades in the making at the UEFA European championship. We'll take a look.



CHURCH: A dramatic and thrilling day for sports fans around the world. Here in Atlanta, the Hawks kept their playoff hopes alive. And England's football team stunned a longtime rival. CNN's Patrick Snell has that and more in our minute in sports.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORTS: Well thanks, Rosemary. We're going to start right here in the U.S. where the Atlanta Hawks have leveled their Eastern conference final series with the Milwaukee Bucks. But the key headline from this, injury to Greek superstar Giannis, is the 26-year-old from Athens, forced to exit game four in the third quarter with a knee injury, and he did not return. Giannis falling to the floor in pain clutching knee. And we certainly wish him all the best in his recovery.

Meantime heartbreak for Serena Williams at Wilmington. The American tennis great forced to retire hurt against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus. William slipping in the fifth game, walking out for treatment before eventually sinking to her knees, fighting back tears and simply unable to continue.

We stay in London for the European football championships where England have finally beaten Germany, a win 55 years in the making. Harry Kane had a four minutes of time, ceiling a 2-0 victory the English at Wembley. And in the quarter finals, England will face Ukraine with the Sweden 2-1 in time added on at the end of extra time. Artem Dovbyk who had come on as a sub, heading home and absolutely superb win. And what a moment for the 24-year-old. And on that note is back to you -- Rosemary.


CHURCH: Thank you, Patrick.

And thank you for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Be sure to connect with me on Twitter @rosemaryCNN. "EARLY START" is up next. You're watching CNN. Have yourselves a great day.